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Large Group Recruiting

Large Group Recruiting

Remember that time when you were a kid and that leader got up to teach at church? They were so monotone. They held a binder and read a Bible Story to the group with very little passion and enthusiasm. Maybe they paused between each sentence for what seemed like 10 minutes.

Wait. Hold the phone. Record scratch. No, you don’t remember it BECAUSE of those things. As a matter of fact, it’s a wonder that you are even still in church now if that was you. God surely is gracious!

Here’s the thing: If we want kids to remember the Bible Stories and truths from God’s Word, its important that we don’t present it in a way that even puts you to sleep. The presentation ought to have energy and passion, causing kids to walk away having been engaged from start to finish.

You might say, “I want that, but how do I find the right people?” When it comes to recruiting, we often just try to look around the church to find those people who aren’t serving somewhere. We hesitantly strike up an awkward conversation and then we may or may not get the strength to ask them to serve.

However, when it comes to recruiting someone to be on stage in front of a Large Group, it really shouldn’t be that difficult. Instead of looking for those people that aren’t serving, look around for those people who exude the traits that you want. These types of people often stand out. They are outgoing, friendly, sometimes loud, typically laugh a lot, and they naturally have energy and passion in just about all they do. Look for the God given gift rather than someone to fill a need.

Notice the difference:

“Hey Joe, I was wondering if you might be interested in talking to me about leading Large Group.”

Or

“Hey Joe, I’ve noticed something about you. You are always so positive, fun to be around. You seem passionate and have such fun energy. Have you ever thought about allowing God to use those strengths on stage? I bet you’d be a Rockstar in front of kids.”

When you walk up to someone, start pointing out their strengths, and how you could see God using those strengths, they are typically more likely step up. Make a list of the gifts and strengths you need for the role first. When you start looking for the gifts, rather than a hole filler, you will begin to have more success finding the right people for their right spot.

Strategy Matters

Strategy Matters

If you have been around ORANGE for any length of time-using our curriculum, attending our events or reading any of our books, you have heard us talk about “ORANGE Strategy”: the combining of the influence of the Church and the Home to have a greater impact on the next generation.

Maybe the idea of “strategy” in relation to church is new to you. Or, maybe you have bought into the idea of strategy, but you are not really sure if it is making any kind of a difference. In either case, you may be asking “Does strategy really matter at church?”

At Orange, we have devoted well over a decade of work based on the belief that strategy DOES matter, but it is fair to ask the question: “How and why it does matter”.

Strategy gives you the opportunity to get your team and the families at your church on the same page, talking the same talk, working towards the same goals and measuring “success” from the same vantage point. When you do this the likelihood for reaching those goals increases substantially. But, what happens when you and your team have implemented a strategy in your ministry? You’ve spent time and resources to define and begin to put in place some ways to implement the strategy, but you feel like your congregation isn’t catching on, your parents don’t seem to be responding to what you are providing to them as reinforcement. When I have conversations with leaders about this, I follow up with, “Tell me about what you have done to let your congregation and parents know about the strategy you have put into place.” You see, simply putting a strategy into place isn’t the final step. It’s the first step. Even having a parent meeting or doing a sermon on the strategy to let your congregation know about your strategy is not the final step. It’s the second step in a continual process of reminding, educating, reinforcing and implementing the strategy you have put in place.

For you to begin to see some fruit from your strategy, you need an on-going weekly plan to continue to put the strategy in front of the people at your church. A plan for volunteers. A plan for parents. A plan for the other members of your congregation who you’d love to have become volunteers. One and done will not get it. This means not only will one meeting not move your strategy to a place of mattering, but one avenue will not accomplish the stated goal for your strategy. Leaders often ask me, “Should I print out the Parent CUE cards, post them on our website or email them out to parents?” My answer is “Yes”. Meaning, you should do all of these things. Being in multiple places means you have a higher likelihood of getting the resource into the hands of the intended audience. If you can think of an avenue of communication, you should be using it. If you happen to be using an ORANGE curriculum, the awesome thing for you is, we have already created the tools to do all of this and provided you with what you need to make it happen. All you have to do is “plug-and-play”, so to speak. Take what we have already created and plug it into every communication avenue you think may give you the opportunity to interface with parents, volunteers and your general congregation. BUT, just getting the resources in the hands of parents doesn’t mean they know what to do the with resource or why you are sending it out to them. Put systems in place where you are reminding parents on a continual basis the intent of any resource you give them and why you want them to have the resource. Help them remember what to do with the resource and how it helps them to partner with you. Use language in your regular communications with families, volunteers and your broader congregation that is continually reminding them about your strategy and how they are a part of that strategy.

Strategy matters so we can actually take needed steps to introduce the next generation to Jesus, but as leaders, we must take the steps to be sure our strategy is clear those we want to be on board with us. Take some time to evaluate what you are actually doing to inform the crowd at your church. Are you defining for them how to engage in your strategy? Is there a clear path for them to follow? Do they understand how the resources you provide for them tie to the strategy? Identify the areas where you need to put some action steps in place to make your strategy actually matter to those you want to influence. Yes, it takes time, effort, energy and resources on your end, but isn’t it worth it to ensure that the generation coming after us knows about Jesus?

5 Multi-Age Small Group Tips

5 Multi-Age Small Group Tips

As a small group leader, when you meet with your few, when you show up for them consistently and randomly, you’re impacting the future faith of an entire generation.

If you’re like many users of our Compact material, it feels like you have an entire generation at small group every week!  To help small group leaders engage all the kids in their unique circles, check out our top 5 Multi-Age Small Group Tips!

Pair older and younger kids within the group. For activities that involve reading or writing, and other collaborative activities, pair up older and younger kids in your group. Give each a specific responsibility: the younger kid in each pair is in charge of drawing, and the older is the reader; one decides where to build the tower and the other decides how tall it will be, etc.

Aim for the older half of the group. When you’re leading conversations, explaining an activity, or picking out a cool prize, think of what will engage the oldest kids of your group. It’s tempting to focus on the youngest kids to make sure they don’t get lost, but if you keep the interest of your oldest kids,  the younger ones will naturally want to be included.  You can pause once you have the group’s attention to add any additional comments that will help your younger kids understand concepts or directions. Or, like in the idea above, ask a “big kid” to explain it to them!

Assign Jobs Weekly or Monthly. Each week or month, assign jobs or roles within your small group: someone to pass out the Activity Sheets, markers, or other supplies; a line leader to and from large group; someone who carries any bags or clipboards your church uses; someone to open or close in prayer, etc. These roles can be carried out by any age level and they give kids a sense of belonging and ownership within the group.

Have a Sharing Turtle! A stuffed animal, plastic utensil, or even a bandana can be used as a tool to help kids listen to each other and wait their turns to speak. This is a skill that might be lacking in younger members, or older kids might be tempted to talk over a younger kid because they know the answer already. Whoever is holding the “sharing turtle” is the only one who may speak. The Small Group Leader is the Ultimate Arbiter of the Turtle and allots sharing time based on the activity.

Find Non-Competitive Bonding Activities. With such a diverse age group, you’re bound to have many levels of physical and emotional skills represented, so keep that in mind when you’re planning a party or outing. Score-based games are less fun for everyone than themed free play get-togethers. Creative activities are always a good idea: cookie decorating, T-shirt stamping, or a sticker mosaic are collaborative, non-competitive party classics!

These are just some ideas for how to make your multi-age small group rock!